Update: September 15, 2014
The Bontrager Flash Charger arrived at the Mtbr office and we experimented with it right away. We found a brand new tire and wheel tubeless combo that we couldn’t seal with a floor pump. So we charged up the Flash Charger with about 40 pump strokes, getting it to 160 psi. The pump is high quality and although the effort did increase with the pressure, the pump felt secure and consistent all the way to 160 psi. The handle is plastic so we could feel a bit of flex when pumping at the highest pressures.
We put the universal presta/schrader valve on and proceeded without pushing the tire to rim wall or applying any soap/sealant to help seal the tire. We released the air with the red lever and voila, it worked as advertised. We tried it on a second tire setup and it worked like a champ again. The shot of air is not unrestricted because of the universal presta/schrader head. But it worked on our first tests no problem. We’ll continue to test more combos in the future.
Video: Sealing up a new tubeless rim and tire
The 160 psi charge sealed up a huge 29er tire to about 22 psi. And since the air chamber balances out with the tire pressure right away, one can just continue on pumping to further seal the tire or get to the desired pressure.
August 1, 2014
One of the cool surprises we saw at Trek World in Madison, Wisconsin is the Bontrager Flash Charger tubeless floor pump. It retails for $120 and is designed with an extra air tank to store compressed air that can deliver a shot of air to seat tubeless tires.
Tubeless tires are all the rage right now but sealing some tire and rim combinations can be a difficult and frustrating task. Some combinations can be sealed by pumping furiously with a floor pump but many setups refuse to seal, specially on the first tire install. What is really needed is a shot of air to push the tire walls out and create a seal before the air escapes out. That’s why a compressor with a trigger valve is the fail-safe solution when sealing tubeless. But compressors can be bulky, noisy and expensive. And they can’t be taken out in the field where sealing jobs are sometimes necessary.
Video: Pumping the tank to 160 psi and releasing the air
Bontrager came up with the Flash Charger pump after two years in development and it seems to be a good one. It’s a floor pump first and foremost and it works just like one when the auxiliary tank is in the open mode. But close the big red valve and the tank becomes an air storage unit where pressure can be built up. It took about 46 pump strokes to fill the reservoir to 160 Psi. And one flip of the red lever valve delivers a shot of air to seal up tubeless tires. The auxiliary tank will store all the air too and can be used at a later time.
- Alloy barrel for smooth pump action
- Auto-Select head effortlessly fits Presta or Schrader valves
- Top-mounted 160 psi gauge
- Three-arm base gives excellent stability
- Inflates tubeless-ready tires without a compressor
- MSRP: $120
For more information visit www.bontrager.com.